“I remember my first love,” the man said, closed his eyes and sighed deeply. “She was as sweet as dew at first light. I have never met another like her.” He knelt before the altar and worshiped First Love.
For most people, first love is a careless delicious surplus of sugary puffs of nostalgia. They swoon in memories of white lace, tender moonlight strolls, skin as soft as silk floating on feather down, and a touch so smooth and delicate it speaks of a refreshing summer lemonade or a delicate red wine with floral undertones. Over time, first love has a way of growing into a whimsical dream-like longing that paints it as more than a simple charity of nature. For many, it morphs into a cosmic life event colored by all that is innocent, sweet, and righteous in the world – a lavish desert and entitlement of youth.
If man could negotiate time and the universe in a single breath and look upon the original blueprints for his existence, he would find first love was a gift, a charity, orchestrated by gods with nothing better to do. They were spirits with no motive other than creating a smile and a warm place in the heart, who, to this day, toast one another with each first kiss of starry eyed first loves. We should also toast first love and fall in love over and over with the honey scented nostalgia that cloaks it. Yet, unlike those candied memories, we must take care not to place our first love on a wistful pedestal like a trophy.
First love is not an altar to kneel before. It is not a stuffed panda, or fine wine to share openly as a prize, but a keepsake to fold into your wallet for safe keeping for fear it might sour with overexposure. Like a mother’s womb, it is not intended as a warm cubby hole to hibernate forever. Its sole purpose is to prepare for what is to come – to open eyes to the truth that two are better than one. First love is training wheels on your first bicycle; the first cross you bear; the first callous on your heart.
Sweet as cherry blossoms in spring as it may be, nuzzling the fuzz on that first peach is meant as a personal curio to be placed on a sheltered shelf out of the way when done. After all, it is charity, a gift, not intended for flaunting. Unfortunately, human nature does not always allow first love to be treated as such; it will not permit it to be dignified by fading softly until vanquished respectfully and honestly. No, we dig up the bones, cover them with wisps of Camelot and roses, regurgitate a surreal fleeting experience that never was as we wish to remember it.
Those first palpable pricks of the heart linger in a shadowy recess of the brain reserved for what might have been, what never was, and what we wish, want, and believe to be. Its memory is the byproduct of an underdeveloped flap of grey tissue that utilizes spotting sparks of corkscrewed energy spitting from a humping brain stem to fabricate superficial intrigue and horny syrupy sweetness for a fleeting delusional moment in our lives. We hold to that moment with a fondness reserved for high school pranks and fetching our own switch for Mama to tan our backside. Those good old days and memories we sweeten with saccharin.
That most people are indebted to a name they only speak in moral seriousness is without question. That they are ensnared deep within a constantly gentrifying lair of sugarcoated indulgence of half-truths is also without question. In the name of first love, they allow themselves to be imprisoned by plain prose exuding romantic mediocrity blinded by sunlight caught in crystal windows. Their reason is intermittently waxed incomprehensible; they are blinded or at least enveloped by a fantasy shrouded in essentialist qualities of love – a fantasy inseparable from reality.
A charity of nature designed to unlock hearts and open souls to the beauty of the human bond, first love should be smiled upon and thought of tenderly for its intended good. It should not be allowed to fester into a gauzy distraction or a model holding all future love accountable. It was never intended to be idolized or placed on a pedestal that might bring the adoration of future love into question, nor was it ever intended as a gauge for future romantic relationships. First love is a foyer to a greater room; it is simply the beginning of the grandest adventure of all – love. It is practice for the real thing to come; it was never intended as a prototype of the real game.
©Jack Linton, February 9, 2018